Advantages of Cable Ties

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Cable tie in classic white. These fasteners secure wires that, if loose, may be compromised and thus hinder operations of your electrical systems.

At home or at work, we’ve all used them. Cable ties. What a grand invention.

If there is one word to describe the main advantage of cable ties it’s – organization. Fortunately, a blog post is not a meme so we aren’t limited to few words.

Also known as zip ties (strips), tie-wraps, and wire ties, cable ties easily afford a nice, neat presentation. How? By bundling up cables and wires that would otherwise be a jumbled mess. While white is most common, these fasteners come in other colors. Different colors can be used to identify different systems. Color–coded organization streamlines maintenance and allows crew members to quickly pinpoint an area that may require repair.

Cable ties lend themselves to other benefits as well. They are strong and don’t break easy (have you ever seen them act as handcuffs?). They are inexpensive and simple to implement. And who doesn’t love that clicking, ratcheting noise as you securely apply one?

In aviation, these items are used to instill order toward those miles of wires contained within your electrical systems and among your electrical components. Cable ties used to conform to specifications pertaining to military standard MS3367F; however that standard has been cancelled and has been superseded by SAE-AS33671.

In general cable ties are composed of plastic, particularly nylon. But, they can be made of steel. It seems counter-intuitive, though, to use metal ties on electrical wire and insulation, but that’s just a personal preference.

Cable ties beat, say, string. If you’ve ever come close to tripping over your shoelaces you know string can be dangerous. You don’t  want to get entangled in drooping cables nor do you want to accidentally tug string loose and dislodge and disconnect important wires. Plus, with cable ties you don’t need to earn a merit badge by understanding a laundry list of knots.

A minor setback: many cable ties are one-time use. If you make a mistake you’re going to need scissors or shears. But there are some varieties that are adjustable.

Still that doesn’t take away from all the aforesaid benefits. Industrial or domestic applications – cable ties are tidy and convenient. So next time you want to prevent the inner workings of your plane from looking like spaghetti strewn about after a tornado, reach for the ties that bind.

Sealants: A Brief Introduction

In the aerospace industry, sealants play a critical role. So is it any wonder why SkyGeek sells it?

In many ways, aviation served as the driving force behind modern bonding technology. Building planes and propelling them in the air requires weight-saving measures. What would be lighter, metal fasteners or chemical substances? The development of adhesives and sealants not only cuts down on an aircraft’s weight but it also cuts down on costs.

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Sealants – different purposes, different applications. (Courtesy PPG)

We gathered a brief set of useful notes to provide just enough insight on sealants to reinforce their importance.

What is a sealant?

A sealant performs prevention. Preventing what? It prevents things like air, gas, fire, liquid, smoke and even noise from penetrating one surface and traveling to another. Sealants seal, plain and simple.

What are its functions?

To know a sealant is to know its purpose. When two substrates (or more) form a gap, a sealant will fill it. By doing so a barrier is formed as the sealant’s physical properties adhere to the substrates. Once cured, a sealant is designed to maintain its properties for the lifetime of its use and under conditions and environments specified by the manufacturer.

Three forms

According to Adhesives.org, sealants are categorized by classes – one component, two-component, and tapes.

One component sealants are packaged in cartridge form and thus require no further equipment during application.

Meanwhile, two-component sealants “require bulk guns and mixing equipment to prepare and apply the sealant, and are typically packaged in separate buckets.” This class of sealant consists of a base component and an activator component. The two are usually mixed for a pre-determined amount of time prior to application.

Finally, sealant tape is characterized by sealant found on flexible backing.

When Compared to Adhesives

Sealants may be grouped with adhesives but they are not identical structurally or chemically. It’s not advisable to swap one for the other since they are not always interchangeable. We have already mentioned the purpose of a sealant but an adhesive’s main duty is to bond surfaces together. That’s it.

Some strong sealants may be considered adhesives. Additionally, sealants are considered really low-strength putties and caulks. So if you want to know comparatively the range of sealant, it falls somewhere between a strong adhesive and a weak caulk.

And while adhesives (bonding), caulks and putties (fill space) tend to perform one purpose, sealants can be applied for multiple reasons. Specially formulated sealants can serve as fire barriers, insulation (acoustic and thermal), or electrical, corrosion, and moisture inhibitors.

Additional Resources

There are many resources available out there to get you started on using sealants on your plane safely and effectively. While this post is by no means meant to be comprehensive that doesn’t mean SkyGeek doesn’t want to supply you with a way to learn more:

PPG Aerospace Sealant Glossary

Tips for Applying Sealants

Benefits of Sealants (and Adhesives)

Why Safety Wire?

Here’s a familiar scenario: You’re on a budget and money can only be allotted toward tools and equipment that get your aircraft up and flying. What do you purchase?

Obviously every pilot and plane owner will have different requirements based on their own unique maintenance needs at any given moment.

“Safety first.” Isn’t that the expression that should take precedence and determine what supplies are truly required?

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Page 7-19 of the FAA’s Advisory Circular 43.13-1B on “Safetying.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE)


With all that cloud-surfing at high speeds you are bound to encounter areas on your aircraft where fasteners loosen. Complications arising from vibrational forces are matters that should not be dismissed so easily. Routine maintenance and repair should include the use of safety wire.

In fact, according to the FAA’s 14 CFR Part 43 the use of safety wire is one example of a preventative maintenance item and is included as an item in a propeller check.

So what is safety wire and why should you use it? We have defined safety wire and its use in a previous blog post.

However it bears repeating that safety wire is a means of preventing vibration from compromising applicable fasteners from loosening in the event that they fail during operations.

Aviation is not natural. When you transport a person through the air you have to compensate for natural forces that resist. That which is unnatural is usually dangerous. And so that’s why the aviation industry ensures there are systems in place to buffer and backup. In other words, one component fails there is another in place and another. Safety wire works on the same principle. It’s peace of mind.

Besides peace of mind, there are other benefits to using safety wire. First it can act as an aid during inspections. If safety wire is applied and it is out of place or broken, this indicates that vibrational forces have acted on those fasteners and thus may need to be repaired or replaced before next flight. But how would you know this? Safety wire, in its twisted configuration, is highly visible and displays an assurance that fasteners held to scrutiny are secure.

Safety wire is also relatively inexpensive and the tools and accessories are not hard to find. Also these tools are not as rigidly limited in use, meaning it’s not like you need a specific screwdriver or bit to properly fit a screw head. Safety wire pliers, twisters, and tabs have a wide, almost universal field of use.

Still, safety wire has a few downsides that are worth noting. Casual plane owners may find it takes time to properly install; in this case it might be easier to seek assistance from a qualified mechanic or technician.

Another problem may occur when cutting excess wire. Small pieces may cause injury to either person or plane so it is important to properly clean the area of excess bits of wire scrap after completion of installation as well as to wear adequate safety gloves and eyewear during application. After all safety first, right?

For more information on the implementation of safety wire, aka “safetying,” please refer to, Pages 7-19 to 7-26 Section 7, Chapter 7 of the FAA’s Advisory Circular AC 43.13-1B.